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Get Shaken and Stirred

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Jovie Belisle. Photo by Keven Salazar I’ve always wondered what bartenders thought when I ordered my simple vodka cranberry. I’m not someone who experiments with different drinks or goes out to drink much, so talking to some local bartenders helped me feel more at ease with yelling my drink […]

Click here to view original web page at www.eugeneweekly.com


Jovie Belisle. Photo by Keven Salazar

I’ve always wondered what bartenders thought when I ordered my simple vodka cranberry. I’m not someone who experiments with different drinks or goes out to drink much, so talking to some local bartenders helped me feel more at ease with yelling my drink over too loud music: They understand, they’re busy, and they don’t have time to chit chat. They’re professionals, not assholes.

Spirit Haus Saloon – Jovie Belisle

I spoke with Jovie Belisle at her home where she keeps her mobile bar, a 1959 Aloha canned ham travel trailer where it’s kept parked when not used for events.

Belisle is a bartender with a decade of experience. From working in sports clubs to elegant restaurants, Belisle was ready to own her business: the Spirit Haus Saloon. The mobile Spirit Haus Saloon opened this past summer ready to cater to a variety of events: weddings, anniversaries, parties and much more.

How did you get into bartending, and why have you decided to stay in the business?

Jovie Belisle: I got into bartending when I moved to Portland because I wanted to do something that would force me to come out of my shell and be more comfortable talking to strangers. I was painfully shy growing up and bartending has made me much more social and able to handle awkward situations. I decided to stay in the industry and start my own business doing it because I’ve invested 10 years into it and always feel the need to keep learning new facets of the trade.

What is your favorite drink to serve?

A shot of whiskey!

What is your least favorite drink to serve?

I’d say margaritas and Moscow mules are my least favorite. They’re great cocktails that have been around forever for a reason, but there’s a time and place for them. They’re what people order when they’re scared they’re not going to like anything else, so they don’t even look at the menu.

What is the recipe for these drinks?

A margarita I do 2 ounces of tequila, ¾ ounce of triple Sec and ¾ ounce of lime juice. For Moscow mules it’s 2 ounces of vodka, ½ ounce lime juice and 4 ounces of ginger beer.

What do you wish was ordered more?

Martinis with vermouth. Vermouth has gotten a bad rap since a lot of bars don’t store it properly and it goes bad. So over the years martini drinkers have decided it’s gross and order their martinis bone dry when really it’s not a martini without it. It’s just chilled vodka or gin. Which is fine to enjoy, but I’d like to see vermouth continue to make a comeback.

What is the recipe?

I do a 4:1 ratio for martinis unless the guest specifies otherwise. Traditionally up to a 2:1 ratio has been used.

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Tony Schmidt. Photo by Keven Salazar

Agate Alley – Tony Schmidt

Tony Schmidt has worked for Agate Alley for 12 years and moved to Eugene in 2002. Schmidt grew up in Seattle and has lived in Oregon since 1986. He’s been a bartender for six establishments.

How did you get into bartending and why have you decided to stay within the business?

Tony Schmidt: I started to frequent bars in my 20s, and when I saw the fun my friends were having bartending, I thought I could do it, too. I stay in the business because I’m always building relationships with people who come in and those who are frequent guests and my coworkers. I’ve known some of these people since I started.

What is your favorite drink to serve?

Whiskey and vermouth Manhattan. There is beauty in the simplicity of the drink.

What is the recipe?

Our Manhattan is 2 ounces of whiskey, ¾ ounce of sweet vermouth and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters with a maraschino cherry garnish.

What is your least favorite drink to serve?

Anything too complicated. The key to a great cocktail is tasting great without a mess of things being thrown together just because it’s hip or trendy.There’s beauty in simplicity and a few ingredients combined correctly can result in perfection in a glass.

What do you wish was ordered more?

Whiskey drinks!

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Emma Whitman. Photo by Keven Salazar

Jameson’s Bar – Emma Whitman

Emma Whitman is a born-and-raised Oregonian. She has been bartending for eight years in Eugene. Outside of bartending, Whitman reads books, spends time with her people and animals, enjoys some cocktails herself and is now trying to learn how to roller skate.

How did you get into bartending, and why have you decided to stay?

Emma Whitman: I became friends with some people who worked at Starlight Lounge, and I decided to try it. I started out bar backing, which is basically learning how to be a bartender. I keep bartending because there’s something new and different every night; it’s never dull.

What is your favorite drink to serve?

I love to make bloody Marys.

What is the recipe for this drink?

A bartender’s bloody recipe is a closely guarded secret!

Editor’s note: While Whitman may keep her recipes close to the heart, we found a basic recipe you can try: Use a cocktail mixer filled with ice to blend a shot of vodka, a dash of hot pepper sauce and a dash of Worcestershire with a cup of tomato juice and shake. Pour into the glass, salt the rim, and garnish with a stalk of celery and stick olives onto a toothpick.

What is your least favorite drink?

If it’s busy, time-intensive cocktails. They are going to take a lot longer to make if it’s a busy Saturday night with a lot of people at the counter demanding drinks rather than if they went to a nice restaurant.

What do you wish was ordered more and why?

I wish people ordered drinks they actually wanted more, without worrying if they are “girly” drinks or come in a “girly” glass, or ordered drinks without worrying about getting a chaser because they are a “bitch.” Drinks aren’t gendered and people should order what they want and what they think tastes good.

To learn more information about Spirit Haus Saloon, contact Belisle at SpiritHausSaloon.com or visit her Instagram spirit_haus. Agate Alley is located at 1461 E. 19 Avenue. To learn more about weekly events, call 541-485-8887 or visit them AgateAlley.com. Jameson’s is located at 115 W. Broadway.